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County’s 2015 tax hike may be cut to about 2.5%

February 4, 2015   ·   0 Comments

Dufferin County Council is making progress in reducing draft spending plans totalling $34.2 million that would have required a 10.7 per cent hike in the county’s share of property tax bills.

Deliberations are moving forward, and several committees have completed their reviews and processed a number of reductions in the overall budget. So far, between the three committees and several departments, the proposed spending has been reduced by $1,447,078, and other cuts or postponements of spending  could reduce the tax increase to about 2.5 per cent.

For Dufferin homeowners, this decrease results in a $60 reduction to the original proposed increase on their tax bills, had the budget gone forward in its original state.

Earlier in January, the County’s Public Works Committee managed to find a way to shave about $1 million in savings off their budget, should Council approve the recommendations.

These reductions also include the postponement of a $50,000 study regarding natural heritage, which would be moved to the 2016 budget, and a $392,000 proposed decrease to the General Government Services and Community Services committee budgets, through a meeting last week.

Although a zero percent, or close to zero increase would be the ideal situation, Dufferin’s Waste Collection contract with Green For Life makes that impossible, with a non-negotiable required increase of $480,000 due to an increase in the number of homes serviced by the company, as well as the cost of fuel used to provide the added service.

Despite that, however, County Council is working to make the increase as low as possible, to have as little an impact on homeowners as possible.

“I am proud of the work that has been done by staff and Council,” said Warden Warren Maycock. “We’ve all worked very well together. With all of the proposed changes, the draft budget increase on the Dufferin County portion of the property tax bill is 2.498 percent.”

That portion, which would work out to just under $34 on a house with an average assessment of $338,000, would also include two additional reductions that have been proposed by staff and will come before Council on next week.

The first is a 1% reduction from in-year savings and efficiencies that would equal $318,538. In order to find this reduction, department heads will be asked to look into ways to save money through the investigation of efficiencies or through realizing savings on tenders, purchases or contracted services to find additional revenue for the year.

Another potential reduction could come from a proposed idea to spread the request from the Headwaters Health Care Foundation for $1.5 million from three years, to four years, making the annual commitment $375,000 – a reduction of $125,000 to the three-year plan.

County Council will next meet on Thursday, February 12, when the recommendations by both staff and committees will be put forward for consideration. If all are approved, County homeowners will see the tax-levy increase reduced to 2.498 per cent.

         

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